Saturday, July 19, 2008

First Season at Lewes Pint of Poetry

performance poet Rachel Pantechnicon

The first season at Lewes Pint of Poetry climaxed with an extraordinary, eclectic show featuring some of the most unbelievable poets.

It was gratifying to see how quickly the club - upstairs at the Lewes Arms, East Sussex, UK - has formed a character all of its own.

For when I first told friends in Lewes of my idea of setting up a poetry club in the town, at least one of them said it would never work and I should forget it.

At times, over the past six months, it has indeed been tough-going. . . with many top performance poets not exactly jumping at the chance to drive hundreds of miles to a little-known town in the deep south.

However - through hard work and perseverence - there have been some remarkable nights.

Italian poet Emila Telese

The visit by the 'Birmingham Poets' - Dreadlockalien (former Brum Poet Laureate Richard Grant), the superb Melinda Deathgoth (pictured bottom), and Simon Lee - was a particular hightlight, with local poetry stars John Agard and Grace Nicholls in the audience.

Legendary punk poet Attila the Stockbroker's incredible 100-minute performance to a packed house in mid-March was also very memorable.

Italian poet and broadcaster Emilia Telese (pictured above) brought an unusual and classy flavour to the club in June.

Before launching Lewes Pint of Poetry, I had been used to playing (fine) gigs in Leamington and Leicester where the audience almost entirely comprised poets.

So, it has been thrilling to find myself running a club where the majority of the crowd are genuine spectators who have paid to be entertained rather than to perform for around three minutes.

I wanted to genuinely bring together the published poets and the performance poets, and this has happened with the likes of gifted published poet Catherine Smith sharing a stage with great performers such as Lorna Meehan or Rachel Pantechnicon (pictured top).

Melinda Deathgoth

Of course, my free-wheeling hybrid of a poetry love-in is not everyone's cup of Assam.

A couple of grumpy open spot poets have deigned to give me the benefit of their inexperience with advice that I should run the club entirely differently, with more poets, with less stage time each, and a conventional approach to MC-ing a poetry gig.

Yet, despite my flawed approach in their estimation, my some miracle Lewes Pint of Poetry continues to flourish! Come September, it will be back with the best of page and performance.

I can hardly wait! See you on September 26.



Blogger The Poet Laura-eate said...

You've just been awarded an honour for services to poetry Oliver (see 'The Honours List' posting @ mine).


Friday, 25 July, 2008  
Blogger Oliver said...

Thanks - it is my first award (of many?!)

Monday, 28 July, 2008  
Blogger Pam said...

Sounds a great night! See if you can make it to Word! in Leicester;first Tuesday of the month at the Y Theatre, London Rd, from 7.30pm. Lorna Meehan's a regular.


Saturday, 13 September, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pam,

I have read at Word in Leicester quite a few times over the last couple of years - and loved it.

That's how I met Lorna Meehan.

But I am no longer live up in the Midlands, so, sadly, I doubt I will be there again, great though the club is... Oliver

Thursday, 18 September, 2008  
Blogger MadPriest said...

Seriously, is the poet right at the top of the post, transgender?

Wednesday, 01 October, 2008  

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